Chicane Canyon EX Tank Bag
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld
Motorcycle tank bags are available in all
different shapes and sizes, with prices that will fit
just about any budget.
From tiny bags that can perch on top of the smallest
fuel tanks, to condominium-sized Haulmeisters like the
Famsa Model 246, soft
saddlebags and even over-the-shoulder messenger bags,
there are plenty of storage options.
Perhaps Chicane USA has a deliberate strategy to help motorcyclists
sift through all the options.
Their tank bag lineup is uncomplicated, consisting of two different styles: the
"Baja" is designed for the drop-back fuel tanks found on adventure touring bikes
like the Triumph Tiger.
The "Canyon" line of tank bags is for flat-topped
fuel tanks, and it comes in two sizes: the Canyon EX
shown here, which fits small to medium sized tanks best,
and the Canyon, with is the same bag, but sized to fit
medium/large fuel tanks. Why the smaller bag has
the appended "EX" tag instead of the larger one is
puzzling, but no matter.
The Canyon EX has a footprint of about 12" long (30.5
cm) and 9-1/2" wide (34 cm), and the Canyon measures
the same 12"
long but is wider, at 11-1/2" (95 cm). We found that the EX
fits an average sized fuel tank, as long as it has a
relatively flat top.
The Chicane products have a nice finish and modern
styling. I'm not
sure if it's the generous use of 3M Scotchlite
reflective piping or the styling or both, but the Canyon
EX looks nice and seems to have a style that works with
modern motorcycle design trends.
One of the unique features of Chicane's tank bags
is their ability to stay upright even when empty.
This is partly due to the incorporation of arched side panels which help to keep the fabric
upright. The sides of the bag also have a type of foam padding sewn in
between the outer and inner fabric walls, and this also
helps to keep the sides firm. The end result is that the bag stands up on
its own, instead of getting all floppy and sloppy, and it looks good whether it's packed to the gills or not.
really nice feature is found on the end of the zippers.
We've been ranting about poorly designed zipper pulls seemingly forever
-- manufacturers forget that a naked zipper is just
about impossible to grab when the owner is wearing a
pair of motorcycle gloves.
No problem with the Canyon -- each zipper is fitted with
a nice, big loop of nylon cord and have a big plastic or
nylon tab affixed to the end. We had no problems
unzipping any of the pockets while wearing heavy winter
gloves, and that's got to be a first.
Chicane has also integrated the zipper pulls into the
styling by using cord that incorporates stripes and
logos. So rather than simply have little pieces of
string hanging from the zipper pulls, the contrasting
colors give the bag a whimsical look while also making
it easy to locate the pulls out of the corner of your
The Canyon EX is listed as having a 19 liter
capacity. 19 liters is 1,900 cubic centimeters;
another way of looking at it is thinking of a vessel
that will hold 5 U.S. gallons.
That's a lot of storage space, and most of it is usable. The top cover is hinged at the front and lifts up to
reveal a big open chamber, almost all of which can be
used for storage. The usefulness of the internal
dimensions are also partly a factor of the bag's design
with its arched side
The main chamber has a flat floor with no other
pockets. A webbed
nylon strap is sewn on to the right-hand wall.
This strap has 5
loops, which can be used to hold pens, a
small flashlight, a tire gauge or other gadgets.
The Canyon expands to its full capacity by a zipper
located around the bottom. The zipper is well
hidden -- I didn't even realize the bag was capable of
expanding until I used it several times.
The top cover includes a clear map pocket, which is
accessed via a zipper underneath. This means that
the map can't be pulled out without unzipping the top of
the bag, but the advantage is that it probably makes the
map pocket more resistant to water because there are
fewer ways for water to intrude.
The visible portion of the map pocket has a
near-rectangular shape of about 6-3/4" front to back (75
cm) and 7-3/4" (95 cm) wide. While this seems like
a decent amount of real estate, I found that a standard
U.S. street map isn't really designed to fit this
configuration. U.S. paper folded maps are
rectangular in shape, and must be pummeled into
submission when asked to fit anything but a long and
narrow space. However, the Canyon's map pocket is perfect for paper
directions, like those copied from a
Map or one of the
Ride Guides to America tour books.
Another pocket is located on the top of the bag towards
the front. This one is a small half-moon shaped
pocket that's nearly square at 5" (27 cm). It
isn't that deep, but can hold a small mobile phone, an
keys, or even a small digital camera. It easily
swallows my tiny Sony T1 camera, extra battery and
Both the right and left hand sides of the Canyon
include zippered pockets that mimic the same arched
front-to-back styling of the bag. Each pocket is
about 10" long (55 cm) and 5" high (27 cm). The
pockets don't have the ability to expand, which isn't
necessarily a bad thing, because the absence of pleats
adds to the streamlined look of the bag. These
pockets are useful for carrying maps, gloves, a wallet,
a couple of granola bars
or other relatively thin and flat items.
Another nice feature of the Canyon is the built-in
rain cover. A short zipper on the front side of
the bag opens to reveal an attached silver rain cover
that can be quickly stretched over the entire bag. The
cover can be installed in just a few seconds, and the
bag can be made waterproof with plenty of time to spare
when stopped at a light or stop sign.
Probably the most
interesting and unique feature of the Chicane tank bags
is that the designs can incorporate a hydration bladder.
Chicane sells an accessory hydration bladder that is
designed to fit into the bottom of the bag (see photo,
bladder has a flat shape and just about completely
covers the floor of the bag.
The Canyon has a small opening towards the rear for the
bladder's 36" (91.5 cm) hose, which can be routed out and then secured
to the left side of the bag with a small nylon clip that
is permanently attached for this purpose.
The bladder is made from FDA-approved food grade
polyurethane, which is claimed to be odor and taste
free. It can also be placed in the microwave or
freezer. The bladder has a wide 4" (10 cm)
opening, big enough to fit ice cubes or to clean the
inside if necessary. Chicane offers a tip for hot weather
riding: fill the bladder half way with liquid and freeze
overnight, then fill it the rest of the way in the
morning for a cold drink during the day.
The hose has a bite valve on the
end (see photo above) that I think is made from silicone. Chomp on the valve to open
it up and the fluid can be sucked out. It takes some
getting used to, but the system is easy to use after a
bit of practice. Since motorcycle riding is always
a very dehydrating experience, it's nice to have a drink
I almost always carry a bottle of water in my tank
bag anyway, but end up getting too thirsty because I
don't want to stop just to take a drink. The
bladder lets me drink on the go, and the ability to keep
hydrated, especially in hot weather, can make a huge
The only problem with using the clip to hold the hose
is that in hot weather, the first dozen inches or so of
fluid can be warmed by the ambient temperature, because
of the non-insulated part of the hose that is located
outside the bag. The hose can be pushed back in
the bag, with only the bite valve showing, and this
keeps the fluid in the hose cooler.
The fluid inside the bladder stays fairly cold for a long time
because it gets some insulation value from being inside
the bag. Note that some fuel tanks on fuel
injected motorcycles get fairly warm because the excess
fuel from the injection's fuel rail is dumped back into
the tank. This can cause the bottom of the tank
bag to get warm and affect the temperature of the fluid
in the bladder.
I found a decent solution: cut a piece of foam padding and
fit it over the top and bottom of the bladder, and the fluid stays
cold for a long time. It works just like one of those insulated
lunch sacks that can be found in the discount store.
The Canyon has a padded hand carrying
handle attached to one end, and
two D-rings are sewn on the front. The bag can be
carried over the shoulder by opening a very well hidden
pocket underneath the bag and releasing the shoulder
The Canyon has a rubberized "sure grip" bottom that
provides some grip on the top of the fuel tank.
One of the downsides of using a tank bag is the problem
of paint scratches. We haven't found a good
solution to this problem -- just about anything you lay
on top of a painted fuel tank is going to scratch it
Microscopic pieces of dust and dirt get caught
underneath, and the paint can get scratched from the
motorcycle's vibration or when lifting the bag up or
placing it down during fuel stops. I use a piece
of rubber-type drawer lining underneath the bag -- see
article that discusses
inexpensive tank bag padding -- which works about as
well as anything.
If I had a big touring bike and I planned on using a
tank bag for every ride, I'd definitely add a piece of
3M Scotchcal over the top of the tank for maximum
protection (see the
fitting the SheerMask paint protection system or
making your own
Scotchcal paint protection system.
Overall, we're impressed with the Chicane Canyon EX
tank bag. But the one feature we think needs some
work is the mounting system. The bags are not
available with a magnetic base, although it's our
understanding that magnetic versions are in the works.
mounting strap and buckles. The strap
runs around the headstock and attaches to
the two buckles. Dirt can get lodged
under the strap and scratch the paint.
strap must be secured around a frame member.
Since the BMW shown here has a split spine,
the strap must be secured to one side,
pulling the bag slightly off center.
The strap can also chafe on the fuel tank,
although this bike is fitted with Scotchcal
paint protection film, the edge of which is
just visible to the left of the strap.
Chicane uses a very basic strap mounting system for
the bags. The bag has two clips up front and one
in the back. Two nylon webbed belts with matching
male clips are provided.
One belt is designed to fit around the motorcycle's
headstock and clips to the front of the bag. The
other strap is designed to fit around the spine of the
motorcycle, underneath the fuel tank and seat.
The problem is that not all motorcycles have a single
spine, and some sportbikes have no spine at all, but
instead use box section aluminum framing on either side
of the engine.
The front strap can be fitted around just
about any headstock, but the rear attachment is
problematic, even on an old BMW "Airhead", whose single
spine is bifurcated under the seat. The Canyon's
attachment strap can be fitted under one side, but it
pulls the bag off center. It works, but is rather
The bag must also be detached from the clips at each
fuel stop, which increases the probability that the
paint will be scratched. Other tank bag
manufacturers sometimes offer a custom fitted tank bag
base that remains on the fuel tank and allows the bag to
be lifted off. These also have their own set of
unique problems, and also add to the complexity and cost
of a tank bag system.
The problem of tank bag mounting might be one of the
reasons why tank bags aren't more widely used. No
one seems to have the perfect solution. The bottom
line here is that you'll need to make sure your bike is
compatible with the simple strap mounting system
currently used on the Chicane bags before you can take
advantage of the Canyon's features.
Many different tank bag shapes and styles are available
for sale. Choosing the right one probably comes
down to finding the unique feature set that best suits
an individual rider's needs.
Chicane's Canyon EX has style, simplicity and a
couple of interesting features that distinguish it from
the competition. It also has a large amount of
usable space as a percentage of its overall footprint,
which is, in the end, the most important consideration
for choosing a motorcycle storage system.
The mounting system and may be problematic for some,
but the perfect tank bag mounting system hasn't been
designed yet. We think the Canyon offers good
value and quality; the bag is reasonably priced when
compared to similar designs.
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Review: Chicane Canyon EX Tank
Retail Price: $125.00
in: Viet Nam
Comments: Nice styling and the design helps the bag to
remain upright even when it isn't filled to capacity. Built-in
rain cover is easy to use. Nice, big zipper pulls can be used even
when wearing heavy motorcycle gloves. Adaptable to the Chicane
hydration bladder system. Very basic mounting system that uses
nylon webbed straps. Apparently, a magnetic version is
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800x600 pixel photo of the Canyon EX